Two years of costly optimism on foreign aid

June 29, 2015 4:30 PM

Yesterday’s Sunday Times reported how ministers at the Foreign Office were warned by the International Development Secretary nearly two years ago that taxpayers' money is going into ridiculous projects around the world in the name of aid. The Foreign Office's £343 million aid fund supported projects including an Ethiopian gameshow. 

It was reported that Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, was rightly angry that her warning was ignored in 2013, with the Foreign Secretary only last week announcing a review into the matter.

It is precisely stories like this that get our blood boiling at the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Any call for cutting waste is treated by some quarters as a call to cut front-line services at home or essential aid projects abroad. But that is simply not the case! Too often taxpayers' hard-earned money is squandered on mindless projects or astonishing inefficiency in the public sector and this is particularly noticeable in development aid.

For years the aid lobby has blocked any sensible debate on aid effectiveness by vilifying anyone daring to ask where our money is going. That, in our opinion, has hurt those who need aid the most, the poorest and the most vulnerable in the world, as funds meant for them have been wasted on ludicrous projects which do very little to promote sustainable economic growth or bring about real social change in the developing world.

We must do better, not just for the sake of British taxpayers, but also for those we're claiming to help.

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